We are Authors!

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One day after school a girlfriend stopped by with her little guy for a quick play date and a coffee. The kids were all playing wildly upstairs while we sat and chatted about the latest news, children driving us mad and when it was going to be warm enough to enjoy the pool again. The middle muppet came bounding down the stairs in need of a snack, he sat down at the table with us and started to tell me about his day at school.

“We had our authors tea today Mummy” he said as he shoved a muffin in his mouth. I asked him if he had finished his book that he was working on. “Yes” he replied “I published it on Sunday.” He continued on about writing and publishing his book, drank his juice and went back upstairs to play. My girlfriend was surprised by the middle muppets conversation and exclaimed that she never thought she would hear the words “I published my book” come from a five year old. I explained to her that in the kindergarden class the teacher refers to all of them as authors and encourages them to use the proper vocabulary to talk about writing. It still makes me giggle when he talks about his authors tea and publishing his work.

All three muppets love to draw and colour. This was not always the case and I actually got in trouble from all of their teachers because they hated colouring when we first moved here. While we were in Sri Lanka they each had their own notebooks to draw, write and colour in. The boys and Dave made up a character based one of our friends that we were traveling with. They called him Jorgie the Spy and he was a German spy who had to solve problems like “The Quest for the Spiciest Curry” or “The Quest for the Golden Buddha” in Sri Lanka. It was fun, and it passed the hours that we traveled around the country side in the bus.

Yesterday it was our friends birthday and the oldest muppet thought that it would be a good idea to make a “Jorgie the Spy” book as a present. All three muppets sat at the kitchen table and we came up with a storey line and they each choose the parts of the book they wanted to illustrate. After their drawings were done I helped them scan the pictures and then I laid it out with the type. After the layout was done we printed and bound the book. The muppets were so proud of their creation, and the oldest muppet decided that the youngest muppet should be the one to give our friend the present.

This morning the oldest muppet asked me if we could write and publish another book today. All three muppets  are all hard at work illustrating pictures and coming up with their next brilliant book idea. This morning I do not have a house full of Jedi’s, Ninja’s or Jungle Explorers, I have a house full of authors!

 

Enjoy the muppets first book here!

JorgietheSpy

Home Schooling

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There was an email sent home a month ago letting us know that the older and middle muppets school would be having a Virtual School Day in February. Before I finished reading the email I had visions of the boys wearing those virtual reality goggles in their classrooms. However I was quickly burst out of my day dream as I read the email further, it described the children learning from home for the day via the NVS website that the school has set up. It was a really nice way of saying Home Schooling Day!

I was not overly excited about this day since the oldest muppet hates doing anything to do with school at home. I had explained to the middle and biggest muppet last night that we would be doing the assignments in the morning and then after they had all been done the day was theirs. The moaning and groaning was minimal from the oldest but I knew that all could change in the morning.

I helped the muppets log in to their NVS sites to get the assignments they had to do for the day. The oldest had to sit and listen to a storey and then write a letter to his favourite character. While he sat complaining about his work the middle muppet watch one of the kindergarden teachers read him a book and he completed his storey board. He then finished his math problem and moved on to his Art class where his teacher taught him to draw a penguin online. I have to admit it is impressive the technology the school is using to reach their students but I still had a seven year old muppet sitting at my kitchen table whining!

The middle muppet happily moved on to playing since he completed all his work before the oldest had written one sentence on his paper. I didn’t even have to say anything to the biggest as he watched his brothers laugh and have fun. He shut up and started working, he finished his letter, math problem and took his music class online with out another complaint. By 10:00am this morning our school day was complete. I asked the middle muppet if he enjoyed doing school from home and he gushed over the fact that he could draw penguins now and how he would have a whole stack of pictures to show his art teacher the next school day. The oldest muppet looked at me from across the room and said the only good thing about this day is that we got to do school work in our pyjamas!

I would have to agree with him, not having to get dressed to take them to school was the the highlight of my day too!

Heart Smiles

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Valentines day in the Qatar is different then in Canada. Back home you would have shelves of Valentines cards, stuffed animals and candies lining the shops, sales and commercials on the television showing you what you should get your loved on the spacial day. In Doha you don’t see that as much, if you walk past the Hallmark here you will see some Valentines things but it is not as predominate as it is in the West.

This year the oldest muppet had to make his own Valentines, he was sent home with a folder including coloured paper and a list of nice things to say to his friends on Valentines day. There were things on it like , You have nice hair, you are good at soccer, you are respectful. It was a two page list that he and his class mates had come up with and thought would be good in a Valentines card.

Trying to get the oldest muppet to do anything that isn’t his idea first is a HUGE battle, I struggle weekly with getting him to do home work, reading books and cleaning his room, so I knew that writing 21 Valentines was going to be a challenge. We sat side by side at the table while the middle muppet and I cut and pasted his Valentines, all the while me moaned and groaned about how tired and bored he was. He had 3 full weeks to complete this project and I warned him that if he didn’t do a bit every day that he would be sitting at the table for an afternoon doing them all. He did not listen and so there he sat for 2 hours writing and decorating cards.

On Valentines day the older boys went to school with their cards for their friends, I was in the middle muppets class for a parents tea and watched all of the children proudly hand out all of their Valentines. They each came home with a bag full of cards and treats. The oldest muppet was excited to read what all of his friends had written about him and the middle guy was excited about the candy that he had received! I was on the phone while they all sat looking at the piles of notes. I watched the oldest muppet pause and look at the youngest who was quietly watching the other two look through all the cards. He quickly got up and asked me for a paper and the markers, I found him at the kitchen table drawing away and asked what he was doing. He told me that he was making a Valentine card for Rowan because he didn’t get any and he didn’t want him to be sad. My heart melted at that moment, and I told him how wonderful it was to think of his brother like that.

This morning at breakfast the oldest muppet grabbed the card off the counter and gave it to the youngest. “Happy Valentines Day Rowan!” he said and gave him a big hug. The smallest muppet looked at the picture and beamed he thanked his biggest brother and they sat at the table talking about the picture while I got breakfast ready. The middle muppet said to me, “Mum Valentines day is about writing letters right?” I told him that I thought Valentines day was about showing the people you care for that you appreciate and love them. The oldest muppet added, “It is about making someones heart smile Ryder”.

Making Someones heart smile, my four muppets (yes the big guy is a muppet too!) make my heart smile daily. Love to all this Valentines day, may your day be filled with love, friendship and lots of smiles 🙂

I Stink

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The older muppets just had reading week at school last week. They were given rewards for being caught reading around the school, discussed their favourite books, wrote their own stories and dressed up as their favourite storey book character. It was a really fun week for them and encouraged their love of reading.

Every week the oldest and middle muppet come home with a stack of library books and for about 2 months straight the oldest muppet brought home the book “I Stink”. Now if you have a little boy who doesn’t enjoy reading, get him this book because it is a book for boys. All three muppets know it by heart and could read it with me at night before bed. I finally told the oldest muppet one day that he needed to pick a different book at library because other kids needed a turn with this storey. He reluctantly agreed and brought home new library books every week from then on. This week he brought home “I Stink” again,  “It’s such a good book mum and so funny!”  he explained as we were getting ready for bed that night he told me that he just loved that book so much he needed to read it again.

So we crawled in the bed and read his favourite book for the 100th time. The three muppets, recited the storey with me in between giggle fits and laughter. It really doesn’t matter to me what they love reading as long as they read even if it is a book about a stinky gross garbage truck!

 

 

Saying Goodbye

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Shortly after we moved to Doha we bought the boys three turtles. Their names were Athos, Porthos and Aramis they were small, cute and really didn’t do anything cool except stack themselves on top of one another. Not long after we got them Athos died. It was a hard experience for the oldest muppet so we had a proper burial for the little fella and said a prayer for him every night. A few weeks later the other two had kicked the bucket as well and so we said goodbye to Porthos and Aramis shed some tears and that was the end of it.

When our dog Jack passed away a few months ago we didn’t feel ready to tell the muppets, it was hard enough on us and we didn’t want then to be sad at Christmas time, but in all honesty we didn’t really know how to tell them. On Wednesday night we sat at the dinner table chatting about our day and the topic of Jack came up, plans of playing with him in the summer began to form and memories of chasing Jack around the back yard last summer came pouring out. The oldest muppet saw it in my eyes first and asked me what was wrong, at that point I had to tell them the truth and I still hadn’t quite worked out how I was going to do it.

We sat for a  long time as I explained what happened to Jack, after we all sat on the couch with red eyes and cuddled. The oldest muppet asked me choking back tears if he could write a letter to Jack in heaven and if we could how do we get it to him. I explained to him that we could draw pictures or write letters to Jack and put them on the fridge. Since Jack is an angel now he would be able to see it from heaven. He seemed happy with this answer and vowed to write him a letter this weekend. Bed time approached and we all crawled in to the oldest and middle muppets bed to read a story. Not long after the story was done while I was kissing the middle muppet good night the tears started again. I sat with him in my arms trying to comfort his uncontrollable crying when suddenly I had a great idea.

I went to the cupboard where we keep all of the soft animal toys and pulled out the three golden retriever stuffed puppies I had brought back from Abu Dhabi last spring. I handed them to each of the muppets and told them that they could cuddle this Baby Jack every time they felt sad, missed him or just needed a cuddle and that Jack would be able to feel it in heaven. I watched each of them give the stuffed dogs a huge squeeze and wiped the tears from my own eyes. I kissed each of them good night and each of their Baby Jacks, believing myself that maybe he would feel that kiss in heaven.

The past few days we have been grieving together, sharing stories about Jack and talking about death and heaven. Teaching your children to believe in something that they can not see or touch is challenging but it has been an interesting 3 days. Tonight at the dinner table the middle muppet said to me “So Jack is in heaven with the three turtles, nana and papa’s dog and Duke and Regis?” I replied yes to this question as I poured juice in to each cup. ” Well I am sure Moses and Martin Luther King are taking good care of all of them in heaven Mummy, they probably have sore hands from throwing the ball all the time for Jack!”  I burst out laughing causing the entire table to erupt in giggles, sometimes I wonder who the middle muppet was in his past life but that is a whole other story!